Priming Sugar and Bottling
Just wanted to stop by and ask for some suggestions. On friday I got my first ever homebrew going (Irish Stout) using Mr. Beer. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the simplistic brewing that goes along with it (all I had to do was sanitize everything, dissolve the "booster" in water, bring to a boil then mix in the liquid malt extract. I then put 1 gallon of cold water in the sanitized Mr. Beer keg, added the wort, then brought the amount up to 2 gallons using more cold water). Pitched the yeast and it's been sitting my closet ever since.
The instructions call for a 7-14 day fermentation (I think I'll give it 14-21 days). My Mr. Beer kit, however, did not come with bottles or anything regarding priming sugar. So I've stocked up on A&W root beer bottles (they have a brown tint), and am patiently waiting until bottling day.
So first question is: is it ok to use these A&W bottles? I'm worried that I won't get a good seal if I'm using a plastic screw cap.
Second, what is the best way to go about priming, and is it even necessary for this brew? I was planning on conditioning the beer in the bottles for another 21 days at room temperature before throwing them in the fridge.
Thanks! (This post was, in addition to my two questions, partially due to the fact that I'm excited about officially starting my first homebrew, and I wanted to share it with those who would actually care.:)
screw cap will not work. Head to a local home brew show and pick up some real glass bottles and caps, plus a capper. Yes, you need to prime.
Get yourself bottle capper, you'll need it in future.
Priming is necessary for carbonation (if you don't carbonate it in keg w/CO2).
For more info read this:
yeah. +1 to the bottle capper and to non-screw off bottles and a bag of unused bottle caps. its all pretty cheap, and if you plan to keep brewing (you should plan on spending alot more money in the future), these will come in handy thru out your brewing future. or atleast till you get drunk and break your caper throwing it at your dog for bumping in the not to stable table that was balancing uncapped bottles.
+1 to glass bottles and bottle capper. I started with the plastic bottles and screw on caps that come with a Coopers DIY beer kit and I have since moves to glass bottles. They are much easier to deal with than the plastic screw cap bottles and I think they actually hold the carbonation and flavour better. Bottles can be reused from any beer your drink that has a pop off cap not a screw top cap.
Just save a bunch of bottles, clean and santize them for your own use. The labels will come off relatively easy if you soak them for a while and take a scrubber or something mildly abrasive to them.
Buy a capper (can get an inexpensive one to start with for about $15) and some crown top bottle caps (roughly $3-$4 for 144 caps).
Priming is necessary in order to carbonate your beer; else it will be completely flat. You can buy priming sugar online or from a local brew supply store. Not very expensive at all. I have found that you should use about a 1/2 tsp of priming sugar for a 12 oz bottle of beer.
Add the sugar, seal the cap on the bottle, then invert a few times moderately to mix the sugar about in the beer.
I'm not sure how necessary it is but I always bottle condition after this point for a week or so and then refrigerate them.
Also don't rely on the bubbling in the airlock to determine if fermentation is complete. You should take a hydrometer reading at about the one week mark from the start of the fermentation period. What you are looking for is three similar readings over a span of two to three days. If it is the same reading three days in a row then fermentation should be complete.
Good luck with your beer. I hope it turns out well.
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